Regarding the conspiracy theory that the Pittsburgh shooter was disseminating online a few hours before the attack, namely that the Jews are bringing Muslims in the US in order to cause white people to become extinct, the Gatestone Institute is replete with articles suggestive of precisely this conspiracy theory. The aim obviously is to generate a sense of imminent danger and the attendant fear and outrage so as to mobilize into action, sooner or later. I already posted a link from Gatestone above, where the language makes plain the intentions of the author to generate a sense of threat in the minds of white Westerners (“Islam is creeping in, Europe is becoming Islamized, Europe’s survival crisis”), but I would like to post two more links whose vocabulary in the titles is very suggestive of the fact that Gatestone is also trying to appeal to white supremacists and mobilize them against Muslims:
“Europe: The Great White Death?”
“Are Jihadists Taking over Europe?”
The memes are clear: whites are endangered by Muslims, so something must be done. But professor Dershowitz did not imagine that this sort of rhetoric can make some from the audience turn first against the Jews, who are seen as the promoters of this supposedly dangerous for whites state of affairs.
And numerous others Israel lovers are now warning the Jewish Diaspora against Corbyn, instead of turning their attention to the number one culprit of endangering Diapora Jews, i.e. the anti-Muslim pro-Israel activism propagated by the Gatestone Institute and similar sites and think tanks -- Gatestone’s raison d'être is (a specific orientation of) pro-Israel activism, never mind its stated purposes.
Instead of Corbyn, Jewish Diaspora should be looking for professor Dershowitz to do some explaining for his enabling role.
P.S. if you see Annie’s video below (min 6:00) where the Ambassador of Israel is nonchalantly and self-righteously smearing a sweetheart like Corbyn as an anti-Semite, you might get an idea why some people get so agitated against Israel – it is Israel’s defenders that sometimes create hostility against Israel. And it should be kept in mind that Corbyn is very popular. Gratuitously smearing him for the sake of Israel’s glory (not even for the sake of Israel’s security, which is guaranteed anyway) is the most unwise thing that Diaspora leaders could do.
I haven’t been following the discussions thoroughly, but a consideration very relevant to the safety of Diaspora Jews stood out very clearly in my mind.
In his last post the Pittsburgh shooter referenced “Muslim invaders”:
“Just hours before Bowers carried out his demented evil, he posted on GAB, a social media platform popularised by followers of the alt-Right, that HIAS [a Jewish American non-profit organisation that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to … refugees] wants “to bring hostile invaders to dwell among us. It’s the filthy EVIL Jews. Bringing the (sic) Filthy EVIL Muslims into the country!! Stop the kikes then Worry About the Muslims!”
The rhetoric about Muslim purposeful invasion echoes the rhetoric emanating from Gatestone Institute. Here is what we heard from Gatestone Institute just a day before the Pittsburgh shooting (October 26):
"[I]f you look through history, where the Church slept, got diverted away from the Gospel, Islam took the advantage and came in. This is what we are seeing in Europe, that the Church is sleeping, and Islam is creeping in... Europe is being Islamized, and it will affect Africa." — Catholic Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Cameroon.
Time is running out. As Houellebecq said in a speech at the Frank Schirrmacher Prize:
”[T]he advance of Islam is just beginning, because demography is on its side and because Europe, which has stopped having children, has entered a process of suicide”.”
Now, here is the problem: when professor Alan Dershowitz is lending his prestige to such think tanks, by contributing to Gatestone with opinion pieces, and when he is actively defending Gatestone Institute against charges of Islamophobia, he is in effect whitewashing rhetoric that casts part of the Muslim world as planning to invade the West. Here is professor Dershowitz:
“Consider the recent attack by Heidi Przybyla of NBC News against the recently-appointed National Security Adviser, Ambassador John Bolton, and an organization whose board he chaired before that, Gatestone Institute. The headline of the hit piece is: “John Bolton chaired anti-Muslim think tank.” Nothing could be further from the truth…
For some Gatestone writers to have participated in this debate does not make Gatestone “anti-Muslim.” It makes them pertinent. Even a cursory look at Gatestone’s website shows that its writers and scholars include numerous Muslims…
I find Gatestone to be refreshingly centrist. It encourages dialogue between the center-left, represented by people such as Senator Joe Lieberman and myself, and people from the center- right represented by speakers such as John Bolton and the eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson.
I disagree with some of what I hear and read at Gatestone events and in its publications, but that is true of every organization of which I am aware.
I urge everyone who has read Przybyla’s misrepresentation to go to the Gatestone website and read a wide array of its extensively substantiated articles. Then everyone can judge for themselves. Is Gatestone an “anti-Muslim think tank”? Or is it an open-minded institute that encourages diverse views on a wide range of pressing subjects? Then you can answer Groucho Marx’s famous rhetorical question: “Who are you going to believe — me or your lying eyes?”
What I believe, contra professor Dershowitz, is that Gatestone is covertly inciting for pogroms of Muslims, a wish that Daniel Pipes has openly expressed, only Gatestone is more careful than Daniel Pipes was because the latter was addressing an Israeli audience whereas Gatestone addresses Western audiences and someone might notice direct wishes for violence.
But my point is not about Gatestone, but about some Jewish Diaspora leaders like professor Dershowitz. An Atlantic writer, Julia Ioffe, put it thus in a tweet:
“And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president [Trump] makes this [the Pittsburgh shooting] possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there [Israel], where you don’t live was worth it.
Ms Julia Ioffe’s idea that some Diaspora leaders are endangering Diaspora Jews’ well-being (by supporting Trump) is one that I have entertained myself, though the causal pathway that I had in mind was different. But the point I want to stress, like Ms Ioffe does, is that it is the hyperbolic love for Israel that makes professor Dershowitz and other Diaspora leaders to be blind to the dangers that some pro-Israel activism generates for Diaspora Jews. Speaking about a supposed Muslim plan for invasion strengthens the Far Right, for example.
Another Atlantic contributor, Frankiln Foer, makes the point about endangering more forcefully:
“Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”
Now, this hyperbolic love for Israel on the part of some Diaspora leaders, a hyperbolic love that inadvertently endangers Diaspora Jews, would be very understandable if it were coming from prominent Israelis. Here, for example is the founding editor of the Times of Israel, speaking one day after the Pittsburgh shooting, finding it impossible to restrain himself from demonizing Corbyn, in the second paragraph of his article, even while he knows the perpetrator was coming from the Far Right and even though he recognizes that the US Jews are in far greater danger now:
“ In a Britain where the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn might well form the next government, the anti-Semitic undertone is now an overtone. Many British Jews feel vulnerable, targeted, deterred from publicly identifying with the Jewish homeland. Corbyn, just weeks ago, it will be recalled, wanted his party to declare that it is just fine, and not at all anti-Semitic, to assert that Israel is a racist endeavor. But for all the growing hostility facing the quarter-million-plus Jews in England, the six million in the United States are, all too plainly, in greater immediate danger.”
I believe the dangers to the well being of Diaspora Jews can be tackled – though I have no ready solution for rightwing anti-Semitism. But I just don’t see how casting Corbyn as a threat to Diaspora Jews when he is not even remotely such will help in this direction. Israel faces no serious threats, Diaspora Jews do. Jewish leaders, it seems to me, would do well to prioritize the well-being of the latter instead of the former.
I do not think that anyone honestly doubts that professor Finkelstein is an epistemic authority on the Israel/Palestine conflict. The reputational glitches in the eyes of the NYT that you are talking about, if they exist, they must certainly be irrelevant to prof Finkelstein's expertise on the conflict. If this bad reputation you allege exists, it will be relevant to his style, i am guessing. Do you have any evidence for your claim, namely that prof Finkelstein has bad reputation in the eyes of the NYT?
As far as i am concerned i find him to be an excellent source of information, and i figured the NYT audience would greatly benefit from hearing from him facts that i am sure the majority of the NYT audience is unaware of -- if you have a look at my recent comments in Mondoweiss you will reach the conclusion that supposedly informed pro-Israel commenters, such as Israel advocates that are present in Mondoweiss, are ignorant of facts that are easily discoverable in mainstream Israeli Press. I figure that the NYT audience has similar gaps of information, and that it would benefit by coming to contact with prof Finkelstein's hypothetical columns. And i also figured that the NYT would want to "arm" the pro-Israel part of its audience with knowledge of what the side that is vocally critical of Israel is arguing with respect to facts, and not let the pro-Israel part of its audience vulnerable to the Israel advocacy echo chamber's epistemic blunders. That's part of why i saw it as a win-win.
More generally, i think that contributing factual truth to the public discourse can only push things forward -- in whatever direction.
Professor Finkelstein is an indisputable source of factual truth, hence my suggestion that he would be a beneficial contributor to the public discourse on the conflict.
Off topic comment.
David (not Tom) Friedman said:
"While the US has a strict separation of religion and state, “in Israel, religion and politics, for better or worse, are intertwined,” Friedman said. “Is that a good system? Is that a bad system? We can debate, but it’s the system.”
" “We are dealing with a theological junta ...” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas, the terror group which controls the Strip".
One human's terrorist is another human's freedom fighter.
One human's intertwining of religion and politics is another human's theological junta.
If you are Hamas, you are bound to be on the wrong side of the ledger, not just in the eyes of Friedman and Netanyahu, but in the eyes of all the West. Credit to pro-Israel activism (New York Times included), the unchallenged demonization of Hamas in the era of the internet is a phenomenon worth studying by historians of the future.